Satan and Sin

Table of Contents

1. Satan and Sin

Satan and Sin

The sanctity in which we hold God's Word is shown not only by our response in living as we are taught within its pages, but also our willing defense of its truth. However, this is to be done with humility, admitting to any lack of understanding we may have, or which we have not actually been given to know.
Why Satan or sin is allowed cannot actually be answered as being directly stated in Scripture. There is no passage on its own that simply states as to why. However, in the whole of the Bible, there is much revealed of both Satan's acting and his ultimate doom, as well the nature of what sin is (as example: Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Rev. 20:1,2,7-10; 1 John 5:17a). The simplest answer one might offer, is that Satan and sin are allowed, that God may give the whole of His creation not simply a greater example and understanding of His holiness and sovereignty, but also of His love in grace (Job 42:10-12; John 3:16,17; 1 Pet. 1:3-25). It is an answer that is found throughout Scripture, whether being given by example, or as by inference (1 John 4:9-19; Luke 22:31-32; James 1:2-7).
We do not have any record as to the period of time of his creation, but we do find in Scripture that Satan is a created being. We are also told that at the time he was created, he was considered to be 'perfect' (complete) in all his ways—he lacked nothing.
In Ezekiel 28:11-19, in a lamentation (song of sorrow) made against the king of Tyre, we have Satan and his sin given us in similitude (an analogy, allusion). Here we find that not only had he been considered perfect, but that his beauty is something truly to behold. Not a single one of the most beautiful and precious stones on earth could compare, but all such stones together in comparison make up his brilliance and beauty. As such, Satan was created and set to be the anointed cherub given to cover (Hebrew: protect/guard, v.14) God's Holy Splendor (Glory—that which is made up of all God's attributes: Love, Sovereignty, Justice, Judgment, Grace, Holiness, etc.). However, in his beauty and position, he had sinned in becoming puffed up with pride.
As the account is further presented in Isaiah, we see in his sinful pride, Satan (Lucifer—light bearer; meant to 'reflect' God's glory to His creation) sought to become as God himself. He attempted to exalt himself as God, for his own glory, only to have his fate being to be cast down to hell (Sheol; Isa. 14:12-15). This is the same temptation Satan had met Adam and Eve with in the Garden—that they would be as "gods"—and with the same result being passed on to all of humanity in their sin (Gen 3; Ezek. 28:18; Rom. 5:12-14).
While in the latter aspect to his fate, Satan has yet to be cast down, he has however, been cast out (or, defeated; John 12:23-33; 16:7-11). This is only part of the accomplishment Christ has made in His sacrifice on behalf of those who believe (1 Cor. 15:21-22; Rom. 5:15-21): but in the greater part in this, Christ has Himself glorified the Father with glory greater than which Satan ever came close to having being a cherub in covering. Satan's glory was but a reflection which became corrupted by his own beauty and pride; Christ's glory is the exact image and expression as God, the True Light which lighteth the world (John 1:1-18; Heb. 1:1-4; 2:14-15).
In acting in obedience by fulfilling all that of the Father's will, Christ glorified Him as God in all which is His from eternity. Christ, the Son of God and God the Son, took not to exalt Himself as God, but took the role of the Son of Man (the last Adam). Through full and perfect obedience to the Father, Jesus would show forth the Glory and Absolute Sovereignty of God towards His own creation by reconciling His creation to Himself by His own sacrifice (Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 2:15; 2 Cor. 5:17-19). Instead of seeking after His own worldly glory and honor, He sought after and upheld the glory and honor of the Father (Luke 4:5-8; John 13:31-32; 17:1-4).
But let us look a bit closer at Satan to see more of what we are given to understand of his rebellion. Returning to Ezekiel (28:11-19), there are a few things to point out in Satan's position as the anointed cherub: "and I (God) have set (made/appointed) thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire" (v.14). The first and most obvious point, God had appointed Satan to his position, even knowing what would come (Psa. 147:5; Isa. 46:9,10).
In Scripture, especially in the aspect of prophecy or parable, a mountain is typically symbolic of governmental authority and rule. This has its meaning here not only in the idea as being the 'place' of God's abode, but of the authority Satan was given as guardian cherub. It was his duty as such, in type, 'anointed' as being a head angel, to make sure God's Glory as being Sovereign was upheld—both through seeing God's will upheld in obedience by others, and in being obedient to it himself.
Stones are often of impartiality and truth in the act of judgment (an equal balance; what is right and just, without bias or preferential treatment, as example, Proverbs 16:11; Hebrew, 'weights' are stones, Deut. 25:13-16; Prov. 20:10,23). Fire, in relation here, is judgment itself: the execution of the sentence (also, it may be the 'refining' act of the judgment; Job could be said to have had his faith 'refined' by the execution of the judgment in having been tried). Together, it is ability in judgment in the execution of a sentence which is equal and impartial in the exercise of truth as to the offense caused.
In this position which God had appointed him, Satan rebelled in an attempt to exalt himself above God (vs.16-17; crf. Isa. 14:13,14). He sought not simply to take the 'balance' (act of judgment) into his own hands, but to overthrow God's very authority of rule and the design of His creation in challenging what measure of balance was to be: what God had set forth, or what Satan himself desired. This is of example in his method of temptation towards man in the Garden of Eden: first, questioning God's purpose in His provision and command over Adam; second, directing man to the exercise of his own will in the desire presented by the fruit to "be as gods" (Gen. 3:1-10).
All that God had designed, Satan meant to call into question in order to promote his own desire to be worshipped in God's place. Thus, the Glory he was meant to protect, Satan tried to take for himself in exercising his own willful desire to be as God. In this, Satan was brought fully under God's sovereignty in judgment by his very act of disobedience in his rebellion. It is not that he had existed up to that time outside of God's sovereignty, but that Satan had yet to experience the effects of being disobedient. This is also typified in the first Adam. As Adam was meant to have fellowship in obedience to God's single command, honoring God in His Authority and Sovereignty in setting things by His will, Adam rejected it by the exercise of his own will instead. So as to Satan, as to man through Adam, man stands under judgment.
In the exercise of choice beyond what had been given of God as right, judgment and death passed onto man. That simply put, our demand of our own way over what God has meant for our protection to guard us, has brought us before Him not in fellowship, but under sentence as being condemned. As a child is considered willful in acting out against its parent's best judgment, so has both Satan and humanity acted out against God. And just as a child is held accountable for such bad behavior (if the parent is good and loving), so are we accountable to God (as a child in Christ, or otherwise, we are all accountable—but only those who heed God's correction, being born of God, are considered sons with God as Father, and free from condemnation through Christ's blood, Heb. 12:4-13).
This however, raises other questions many struggle with as to sin itself: "if God is all knowing and all powerful, why would He even allow that a being of His own creation could be able to rebel and sin against Him? If God is love, how can He allow evil (sin) to even exist?" Whether it be Satan or man, the question is the same.
Yet it could also be asked, if man insists in his own freedom to choose, should he not stand accountable for his choices? This is not wanting to enter into the discussion of 'free-will'; it is just an illustration to point out the hypocrisy in wanting to hold God accountable to our own simplistic understanding of any given situation.
When everything is to our liking, of our desire, we rejoice in the pleasures of the day. But when some such action or consequence arises that our conscience testifies to the injustice or immorality surrounding it, we demand God to be accountable that evil exists. Instead of admitting to the results of our own actions, or inaction, we want to blame God for all which is wrong. We even question His existence and love, in that things are not the way we would think they should be (Rom. 2:15).
The debate has been carried on for centuries, with the "best" minds of mankind offering answers which gather their trust in anything ranging from science, the occult, philosophy to psychiatry. For a believer, however, our understanding can only come through God's revealed Word in what He has given us to know. The things for which little is directly given, we take on faith that it is as He will have it (or, as He has allowed), and to the good for those who trust in Him (Rom. 8:28). We own, as believers of faith in Christ, that greater glory and joy await us, than what we would otherwise have been given to know, without such a gift of grace in Christ being shown (Col. 3:1-4; Rev. 21:1-22:7).
This may seem simplistic, or as an excuse to avoid answering the question in a more 'educated' and 'defensible' manner. Yet, it is the answer of faith: one which is not blind, but which gives its ultimate trust in God as Sovereign and True in all His Attributes and Grace. In this, a Christian's faith is based on no greater possible assurance than that of God's own Word and work (Heb. 6:16-20). It is in trusting His Word in revelation of Himself, and allowing God His own glory and defense, in the full light of the truth that He is the Creator and sustainer of all things.
God's Sovereignty is not just the ultimate power and ability to accomplish something, but also the unalterable and unquestionable authority to set things as what He alone would have them to be and make them so. This does not mean that our every thought and action is controlled by God, but that it is His Sovereignty which allows for those within His creation to exist and operate in such a manner, that even in their best attempt (or worst condition), there is nothing that would be of threat to Him. Satan and sin can only progress as far as God will allow. And just as they are of no threat to His Sovereignty, they are also of no threat to His love in grace. It is all for His purpose and glory, and of fuller revelation in the salvation given to us in Christ Jesus His Son.
God's holiness and purity demands that nothing with the slightest tarnish or imperfection be admitted into His presence (or, to dwell with: to receive as one's own), not a single "simple" sin. His justice demands payment for all wrongs, whether simply in thought or by deed. God cannot turn a blind eye to sin, He cannot do unrighteously—an atonement must be made.
Christ Jesus was given to be the "last Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45). God the Son and the Son of God, gave all which was His own as God, to come in the likeness of man. To walk in obedience to the Father, to honor and glorify the Father, Jesus was manifest in the flesh to take away the penalty of sin in giving Himself in sacrifice to meet the righteous requirements of God's justifiable demands. It is not simply in blood being offered, but the necessary perfection of the Life from which the Blood was given as well (Heb. 10:4-14). But it is only to those who accept such sacrifice by faith in Christ, and not by their own attempt at working or reasoning what is of their own desire (Prov. 16:25; 30:12-13; John 1:12,13).
Jesus has perfected the believer's presence before the Father through that of His own blood. It is not as Satan, who is currently able to present himself before the Lord (Job 1:6, not a 'received' standing: but admitted by permission), and that only until he is driven out completely (Rev. 12:7-12). It is of our permanent standing in His presence as sons of privilege and grace now and for all eternity. And until the day of our full redemption, the believer has also the security of being indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit as well (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:1-4; Eph. 1:13,14).
Sin entered in by Satan and man, choosing for themselves what they desired as necessary for happiness and life. Why it was allowed then, or to continue after, can only be answered by faith (1 Cor. 13:12). It is not by any explanation a man may offer of his own thought, nor can any denial one may attempt to make of God's claim over them change the fact of their accountability to Him.
The heart of the question, "If God exists... (just as, If God is love...)" is an attempt in itself to deny both God's existence and one's own accountability to Him. If it fails in its first purpose, it then seeks to blame Him as being at fault, denying His love in grace, in order that one "feels" they should not be held accountable. Yet, it is so: God exists and we are accountable whether we accept it or not. Our own pride may cause one to rebel, but it is still the same (Prov. 16:18-19). We may say it is "unfair," but what understanding do we have to question One who has all knowledge, wisdom, and understanding (Job 37:23-24; Ps. 139:1-12)?
This may be little comfort to one whose struggle is the conviction of their heart for the sin they know themselves to be responsible for. But it is the struggle, in wanting to see only the "good" they believe they have accomplished, in conflict with the conscience's testimony, that deceives them into believing their good outweighs any wrong. However, this is a refusal in seeing the 'natural' or 'inherent' evil in the fallen nature of man and the exponential growth of sin (Rom. 1:21-23). It is the equivalent of the inability to see that, even our best attempt at good, is evil in itself, if not done according to God's ways and for His glory (Num. 4:15; 2 Sam. 6:6-7). We can only measure 'good' by God's Word, not by our own reasoning. Anything otherwise is the promotion of selfish desire in wanting to be our own 'god' in defining the world and our existence therein (1 Sam. 15:1-23).
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Prov. 1:7). It is not the idea of a terrifying torment of punishment by an unknowable force, but of due reverence and adoring awe in owning all that God is and has revealed Himself to be in unquestioning dependence upon Him. This is the act of faith (John 3:33); this is the beginning fruit the Spirit builds within those born of God, in bringing them before the Cross through recognition of their own guilt and sin. But Christ's sacrifice given on their behalf must also be believed. This is God's love in action (John 1:12-13; 3:5-21), and 'fear' becomes perfected love He alone has called us to in becoming His children (1 John 4:17-19).
Being now in receipt of an even greater relationship than Adam before the fall, there is no fear for a Christian before God. Though our lives lay open and naked before Him, even when we may stumble or "fall", we are covered by Christ's blood (2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 4:6-8). However, for the rebellious and unbelieving, true anguish and torment awaits in not having believed "in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:28b).
To return a bit to Satan; many unfortunately think of him as presented to us in Hollywood movies, or by such descriptions as given in books like Dante's 'Inferno.' However, as we saw in his creation, he is neither one of disgusting looks, nor has tail, horns, or a pitchfork. I imagine Satan is more than able to certainly take on such an appearance in seeking to lead one astray if he would desire. Yet he is even more powerful in his masquerade as an angel of light—his beauty has never been given in God's Word as to have been lost due to his fall; it is his heart and will in seeking to blind and lead people wrong. That he, as even that evil itself, is now so often presented and praised as simply being misunderstood, his beauty presented to suggest his 'inner-goodness', is ample proof of the power of his deceits in the world around us. This is the obscenity of his appearance to those who have their eyes open to his merchandise. Satan's beautiful and precious stones of covering go now to his ability to deceive—making the most subtle of temptations seem the more beautiful for our desire to think they can't be wrong (Ezek. 28:16-18).
As to his ministers (generally, fellow fallen angels), they are just as able to transform themselves to be as ministers of righteousness in order to suit their purpose. These are not crude 'demonic' distortions of a make-up artist, nor that of a poet's fanciful imagination, but beautiful and charismatic creatures. They are ones powerful in both their use of God's Word, and in the riches and worldly entertainments of all that which delights the eyes and flesh of man. Even in stroking a person's ego, puffing up one's pride in what they believe should be theirs, there are few more able. This is demonic, the perversions and twists the enemy brings up before us of what life was never meant to be, but which they present should be ours of necessity (2 Cor. 11:3,13-15).
Neither Satan nor his ministers are either to be pitied or romanticized in any form, though they are often idolized in both aspects in today's culture of 'entertainment' and sin. But they are not the believer's only enemy. One does not need to be of the supernatural to be a minister of Satan's merchandise. There are mortal men and women, given to deceit and corruption, who are fully capable in their use or rejection of God's Word in deceiving others as well (2 Tim. 3:1-7; 4:3-4; 2 John 7).
However, even with each of the stones of beauty Satan possesses, there is a single Stone greater in brilliance and value than all of Satan's combined. For those who believe on Him, He is the most Precious of all. Jesus Christ is both the Foundation (the Rock) and Capstone of the grace and judgment of God (1 Pet. 2:4-8; Isa. 28:16,17). Those who stumble and fall in rejection of Him, He shall in turn fall upon them when He returns in judgment (Matt. 21:44; Isa. 8:14-15; Rev. 20). For those faithful to His call, they are the children of God (Rom. 8:14-17).
To God's children, Satan and his ministers are all defeated foes who have no real power over us unless we give in and allow them so (Eph. 6:10-18; Jas. 4:7,8). This does not mean we cannot be tempted, nor that we may not suffer persecution at the hands of another, but that our life and strength are in Christ—as is our eternity. In the things given to be known, what should be of comfort to us under persecution or trial, is that the battle is not even ours—it is the Lord's, and He has already won!
Whenever Satan or one of his minions may "appear," we are neither to accuse with condemnation or ridicule, but simply to contend in faith that it is for the Lord to rebuke (Jude 9; Eph. 6:10-18). If it is our fellow man, it is for our testimony to remain steady unto the end (2 Cor. 4:6 to 2 Cor. 5:11).
Though God may allow Satan his operations, Satan can only go to the extent which God Himself allows. Should we reach out in faithful trust to God as Father (being found cleansed by His Son, John 13:7-10), Satan has no force, and we are blessed in the outcome God would have for us. If we recoil in fear, God is just and will remain faithful unto the end: He cannot deny Himself in all which He has promised (2 Tim. 2:11-13). Even if it may be unto our death in this world, the greater glory and honor will be to God in a believer who dies according to His purpose in the witness given (Acts 7:54-60; 2 Cor. 5:2-11). However, we need not fear—nothing can separate a child of God from His love (John 10:27-30; Rom. 8:31-39; Rev. 22:1-5).
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Christ Jesus, the Son of God and God the Son, came in the flesh as a Man, a sacrifice of purist savour. The Gospel is this: Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 1:17,18; 2:2), repentance (Acts 17:30); and remission of sins in His name (Acts 10:42-43).
If you have found the end of yourself: feeling the burden and toil of your sin, be alone with God and listen. Know that it is God's Spirit who has awakened you to your condition, God has given you to know both His goodness and the coming judgment. This is repentance shown by the change within to feel such. In this, you have been quickened. This is the new birth spoken of as being "born again" (John 1:13; 3:3-8): thus you are safe from judgment. But there is still more.
Learn of the full and finished work of Christ Jesus (Matt. 11:25-30), call on Him as both Lord and Savior for salvation (John 3:14-21, 33-36). This is the only way you will know as certain the joy of forgiveness of sins through His work, and will have true peace with God through justification by faith and receive the seal (indwelling) of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:1-11; Eph. 1:13-14). And thus, you will be fully a child of God, knowing God as Father, joint-heirs with His Son, Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8).